Freed to Worship

 
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:1-17)
This week, we are going to rest in these verses from Colossians. We may glance at other verses too, but we are going to pause on these verses for a while. Paul summarises so much of what we have been exploring over the last 10 weeks in just 347 words. Today and tomorrow, we will look at what Paul says. On Wednesday and Thursday, we will get very practical about how to apply it to our daily lives. On Friday, we will learn how to live this out as part of a body of believers. It is great news that we do not need to undertake this journey of joy-filled life alone.

Today, let’s start with what Paul says about worship. The Shorter Westminster Catechism begins with this statement: “The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.” If we want to enjoy who we are in Christ, then it helps to remember that we are called to find our primary joy in God himself. God is not only totally worthy of our worship, but it is in worshipping him that we find our true fulfilment and joy. Paul reminds us in these verses that we have been set completely free to worship the Lord with all of our lives.

Paul tells us that once we were separated from God and that God was inaccessible to us, but now we have been freed to set our minds on things above. Why? Because we have been raised to new life with Christ. Notice how Paul speaks in the past tense here. This is not a promise for the future, but a statement of our reality right now. We have been raised to new life in Christ mow. Our lives have been hidden in Christ now. We were created for worship and we have been set free to worship now, just as God designed us to.

One of the great lies of the devil is that boundaries limit freedom. The first lie that he told in the Bible, in Genesis 3:4-5, sought to convince Adam and Eve that if they stepped outside the boundaries of God’s Word then they would experience freedom. A handful of verses later, we discover them ashamed and hiding in the garden in which they had once run free. God’s boundaries are always releasing. We are hidden in Christ. The righteousness of Christ, declared throughout time by an empty cross and an empty tomb, creates a life-giving boundary around each one of us. Totally secure in Christ we are set free to build our lives on a foundation of worship and praise. We have been freed to set our minds on things above.
  1. Take some time today to reflect on your freedom in Christ and to thank God for who he is and for all that he has done in your life.
  2. Psalm 145 is a fantastic song of praise and worship. Try reading it aloud and let it lead you into your own time of praise and worship today.
Father God, thank you that our freedom is not based on our performance, but is totally dependent on your love expressed towards us perfectly in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Help me today to set my mind on things above and to live my life from a place of praise and worship. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by Simon Elliott, who is executive pastor of our church.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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